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Waiting for Rain

Willi Chavez with members of the university’s groundskeeping staff

As a two-year drought continues to wreak havoc through Central Texas and much of the surrounding region, Austin has declared a stage-two drought response, which mandates that watering can only happen once a week. Yet barring a few trees lost each year, St. Edward’s remains the same beautiful green campus that visitors fall in love with every day. The secret to maintaining the 160acre campus in drought conditions is a clever use of resources, sophisticated technology and serious dedication from the groundskeeping staff, according to grounds supervisor Willi Chavez. Here are just a few of the ways Chavez and his team keep St. Edward’s beautiful: Growing native, drought-resistant species, such as grasses, wildflowers and trees like Sorin Oak Aerating the ground with a tractor so that water and oxygen can reach deeper roots

webextra A Green, Sustainable Campus

Using natural, organic fertilizer and worm casings to keep the soil healthy and functional Letting the grass on campus grow taller so it retains water better and stays greener Nurturing grasses and wildflowers on the hilltop to prevent erosion Upgrading the irrigation system to reduce water usage between 5 and 10 percent Reducing the water used on the athletic fields (the grass adapts to stay green with less water) Applying surfactants that lower the surface tension of the water so that it is more easily absorbed — sometimes just dew is enough to keep a plant watered Partnering with pest control companies (Bugs and critters who can’t find water at home sometimes look for it indoors!) —Lauren Liebowitz

It takes more than just preserving our most precious resource to make the St. Edward’s University campus sustainable. See how the university uses eco-friendly building practices and composting at

Shedding Light Eriann Panado ’15 thinks that most global conflicts stem from lack of understanding. She may not be able to lessen the hostilities along the border between India and Pakistan, but the Global Studies major is promoting cross-cultural understanding on campus as the Asian heritage coordinator for the Multicultural Leadership Board. This fall, Panado brought Diwali, a holiday marking the victory of light over darkness that is widely celebrated in India, to the hilltop. Because Panado is not Hindu, she researched the holiday and collaborated with Hindu friends to make the event authentic. “A good event is supposed to engage the audience in as many ways as possible — hearing, tasting, feeling, learning,” she says. Her Diwali celebration combined all the senses: a performance and dance lesson from a Bollywood troupe; a catered dinner of biryani, samosas and mango lassi; henna tattoos; and stations to make rangoli decorations and paper lanterns. The event closed with sparklers against the night sky. Her next event, Pacific Culture Night, was more personal — the celebration tied to her own Asian/Pacific Islander heritage and loosely coincided with Bonifacio Day, a national holiday in the Philippines. Panado dedicated the event to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. “I think by advocating and introducing cultural events, you can inspire students to appreciate cultural diversity,” says Panado. “I want them to see the beauty in multiculturalism. I feel like this is the best thing I can do: educating people to relieve tensions and decrease global unconsciousness.” —Lauren Liebowitz

Eriann Panado ’15


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St. Edward's University Magazine Winter 2014